Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Remembrances of the Green Thumb

Having worked twenty-plus years as an interior plantscape maintenance tech, I can't tell you how many times I've been told that I have a green thumb! Hardly a week would go by that someone didn't ask for advice on the care of houseplants. People are naturally curious about the tech that's poking around in the plants at the doctor's office and a discussion about what they're doing is the perfect way to pass the time while waiting to be called back.

My most frequent questions were about: Watering, fertilization, repotting, and the #1 question, "How do you get the leaves so shiny?" I can still visualize amazement on the faces of onlookers when I pulled out my super, duper plant polish and started spraying the leaves and wiping to a near mirror like finish! (I personally, don't like shiny leaves, but to each his own, I guess.) The next question would always be, "Where can I get some of that?"........and there's always, "I received a plant when my grandmother died, how can I keep it alive?" That's always a tricky one because you hope that your advice doesn't lead to the demise of "grandma's plant".......

Location! Location! Location! It was most likely the cause of the majority of losses of houseplants. People tend to buy plants they like, regardless of the space that they will be occupying. Ficus, though it may be beautiful in that dark corner, won't be for long! My best advice was and is to research the requirements for a particular species and plan the location accordingly...... With research, you too can have a green thumb!